You won’t have difficulty finding a variety of honeys at most grocery stores and supermarkets, that is unless you are looking for 100% natural and unprocessed honey which contains all of the nutritional and health benefits of raw honey.
The problem with most honey brands on the market these days is that they use processed honey that is less nutritious than the raw stuff. A lot of that crystal-clear bottled honey you see at Walmart, Costco and other retail stores has been filtered and pasteurized before bottling, and that’s what is known as processed honey.
The reason that mass producers filter and pasteurize the honey is to enhance its clarity and smoothness, and also to prevent or at least delay crystallization. While the resulting product sure does look clearer, flows more smoothly, and lasts longer without turning into coarse sugar granules, it is nutritionally inferior to raw, unprocessed honey.
Yes, raw honey is cloudy due to having bee pollen, propolis and other natural particles suspending in it, and yes, it tends to crystallize with time, but it is the more natural form with a higher content of nutrients that include vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and others. Raw honey also has potent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and it has different uses as an alternative remedy.
As more consumers are becoming aware of the considerable differences between processed and raw honey, the demand for raw, unfiltered and unheated honey has been growing in recent years. More and more companies are starting to offer it, and the following are three of the best brands of raw honey you can buy online.
This family-owned brand has been in business since 1925 and it’s all about natural bee hive products. They have a decent selection of delicious honey that is pure and raw (unfiltered and unheated). The bees that make this honey collect the nectar from pesticide-free wildflowers in Michigan.
They have different options to choose from. Their most popular product is the creamed raw honey, which is perfect for spreading or eating right out of the jar. They also sell liquid raw honey if you prefer that over the creamy form, but the liquid one will crystallize more quickly (a warm water bath should help solve this).
You can also find a few options of enriched raw honey on their online store, and each of these comes blended with other natural ingredients for added flavor and benefits, such as ginger, cinnamon, royal jelly, etc.
In addition to pure honey, Stakich sells bee pollen, propolis, royal jelly, beeswax and a few other products. You can order directly from their official website where you can read more about their products.
Healthy Traditions is a Texas-based small online store that is dedicated to providing naturally and traditionally produced foods. Some of their most distinguished products include hand-made virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and raw wild honey.
The raw honey they sell is produced in the Canadian wilderness and it is 100% natural, pure and raw honey that has not been heated or filtered. It comes in naturally crystallized, creamy and smooth texture. It is also certified organic.
This is a very delicious and quality honey that you oughta try if you consume honey regularly. They sell it in glass jars as well as large pails for bulk orders. It’s a little pricey but they often offer it at a discounted price.
If you’ve done any research about honey brands on the internet, then you must have seen this one show up quite often. They also go by the name Y.S. Eco Bee Farms and they make some of the best organic, raw honey in the USA.
YS’s honey is unfiltered and unpasteurized and comes in naturally crystallized state, much like a spreadable, thick, creamy paste. They sell both certified organic and non-organic versions, with the organic options being a little more expensive, as you’d expect.
One possible disadvantage of this brand though is that they source their honey from different farms in different countries, including the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Brazil. Seasonal availability plays a key role in where they source the honey from and they have to work with different suppliers in different countries to meet the demands. The label should state which country or countries the honey came from, and this may vary from batch to batch. You can contact the vendor you intend to buy it from to inquire about this if that’s necessary.
Raw Honey FAQ
The following are a few of the most frequently asked questions about raw honey that may help you choose more wisely.
Is Raw Honey Really Superior to Regular Honey?
Generally speaking, yes, raw honey is the more natural and more nutritional form of honey you could buy. It also retains all of the potential healing properties of this sweet gift of nature. However, not all raw honey on the market is created equal, and the same goes for the processed counterparts.
Raw honey must not be filtered or pasteurized, but it is often strained and slightly heated during bottling to make it easier to flow and handle. Straining only removes large impurities like wax and bee parts but does not remove bee pollen particles. Heating honey up to 120 degrees F (roughly) is also believed not to destroy its nutritional content of enzymes and other heat-sensitive compounds as this is a relatively low temperature point compared to the high temperatures used for pasteurization. This varies from one company to another and some do not heat the honey at all.
On the other hand, regular store-bought honey comes in various forms and qualities. It is normally filtered and contains no bee pollen. It is also heated at high temperatures to kill yeast and hinder crystallization. This processing degrades the nutritional and therapeutic properties of honey, although it does result in longer shelf life and a crystal-clear, nice looking liquid!
But that’s not the only problem with regular commercial honey. While many of the products contain pure honey, others aren’t even entirely real honey. Adulterated honey that is mixed with sugar or corn syrup is a common risk that comes with buying commercial, bottled honeys — especially the ones that are sold cheap.
Does Real, Raw Honey Crystallize?
Yes, it does! Crystallization is a natural process that honey undergoes with time. Honey mostly consists of natural sugars (glucose and fructose) dissolved in water and blended with various nutrients and natural compounds. With time, some of the sugar will start separating and forming large, coarse granules that result in an unpalatable gritty texture.
If you buy raw liquid honey and it crystallizes, then you can simply place the jar in a warm water bath and the crystals should dissolve and become liquid again. Don’t use hot water, a microwave or any other source of high heat as that may destroy some of the nutrients in honey.
You can also choose to buy creamed honey instead of liquid forms. Creamed honey is naturally and finely crystallized with a smooth and creamy texture that stays so for a long period of time. It may also solidify at some point, but it’s less likely to form large, coarse crystals like liquid honey does.
Is There Such a Thing as Organic Honey?
This is a tricky question. Although there are numerous honeys on the market that are labeled as “organic”, there is no official certification process or standards for organic honey in the USA. Most of the certified organic honey is produced and certified in other countries.
But even if it says “organic”, some experts argue that there is no 100% organic honey for the simple fact that honeybees travel for miles to collect nectar from different sources and it’s almost impossible to ensure that they won’t be exposed to some agrochemicals, like pesticides.
When you have the option and the willingness to pay a little extra, organic raw honey is still a better choice, but non-organic brands are also a viable option as long as it is unpasteurized and unfiltered. It is not practical for most local beekeepers to produce organic honey, but if you manage to find one that does then that’s a plus.